Friday, November 4, 2016

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë


Agnes Grey 
by Anne Brontë
originally published in 1847
ebook, 221 pages

audiobook:
narrated by Emilia Fox
Audible Studios, 2008
6 hours and 27 minutes

Summary (from goodreads):
At age 19 Anne Brontë left home and worked as a governess for a few years before becoming a writer. Agnes Grey was an 1847 novel based on her experience as a governess. Bronte depicts the precarious position of a governess and how that can affect a young woman. Agnes was the daughter of a minister whose family was in financial difficulty. She has only a few choices for employment. Agnes experiences the difficulty of reining in spoiled children and how wealth can corrupt morals.

My thoughts:

Agnes Grey, the book I was dealt in the recent Classics Club spin, is a simple, straight-forward, and relatively short story based on the author's experience as a governess. Life as a governess was difficult for Agnes (Anne), whose family had recently fallen upon hard times. None of the women in this novel have a particularly easy time of it... a fact which made it easy for me to understand how Anne progressed from this story to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a book many consider to be the first feminist novel.

Agnes Grey is slightly predictable (nowhere near as exciting as 'Tenant'), and Agnes herself comes across as somewhat preachy and self-righteous, however this was still an enjoyable read overall. It also has one of the best closing lines I've come across:
"And now I think I have said sufficient."
A note on the audio:
Agnes Grey was a read/listen combination for me, and my first experience listening to Emilia Fox. Her accent is lovely, though initially I thought she spoke too quickly. However, I settled in before the end of the first chapter and ended up enjoying her narration very much.

My rating:


26 comments:

  1. I don't think life was easy for any women back then but I find it interesting that a family that's fallen on hard times would keep their governess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - I didn't write that clearly, but it was Agnes' family that fell on hard times and shipped her out to be a governess. You're right... no women had easy lives then.

      Delete
  2. I think this is a lovely book. I need to reread it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jillian - I really liked it, too...made me want to reread Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

      Delete
  3. I have never read a book by Bronte. I think this would be a good book to start with so I added it to my kindle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki - It takes a while to get used to the language, but it is a lovely story.

      Delete
  4. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed this, as I also have it on my Classics Club list. I am looking forward to read it, but it does sound like I should read The Tenant of Wildfel Hall first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jessica - In some ways, I think it might be better to read Agnes Grey first, especially know that it's autobiographical. Then you'll be wowed by Tenant.

      Delete
  5. I've never read anything by Anne, and never heard of this title. Interesting that it is based on her years as a governess. And I love her last sentence!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rita - I only learned about this title from blogging friends who love classics. Don't think as many people read Anne as they do Charlotte and Emily.

      Delete
  6. I have never read Anne Brontë but I would like to.

    The predictability of this might be a bit of a negative for me.

    I agree that is a great closing line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian Joseph - It was predictable, but just as you would expect life to be under these circumstances. Overall, quite enjoyable!

      Delete
  7. I haven't done a classics club spin in quite a while since I've decided to focus on NOT paying attention to challenges lately. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel - I'm not doing challenges these days either, and worked hard to convince myself that the spin was really an 'event' ;-)

      Delete
  8. Oh that is a great ending! I read this one a few years ago and unfortunately can't recall much of it. Glad you found it an enjoyable read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iliana - I suspect that all I will remember about this in a few years is the happy ending and closing line :)

      Delete
  9. That is a great closing line! I have seen Classics Club here and there. I should check it out. I love the spin idea. It might be the thing to get me to read the books that I want to read but shy away from.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Toady - It's been nearly five years since I joined the Classics Club. The basic idea is to read 50 classics in 5 years and my goal is near...love the motivation the club provides!

      Delete
  10. Hi, I am coming over from Classics Club. I read Agnes Grey this year it is indeed a straight, sometimes pious story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Noirfifre - Thanks for visiting. Have you read anything else by Anne Bronte? I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

      Delete
  11. Agnes Gray is on my Classic Club list but maybe I should switch it to Tenants... sounds a bit preachy and I am not "into" that stuff these days.
    My Classic spin book was Little women

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne - Tenant is a much better book in my opinion. After your experience with Little Women, you may very well find Agnes Grey to be overly preachy.

      Delete
  12. I read Tenant last year and Agnes is on my TBR Classics list - glad to see I have a treat ahead of me 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brona - I'm still surprised readers don't seek out Anne's work as often as her sisters.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails